"Thanks for your help. One more thing -- what's your name?"So what's the deal? Was that really his name? Maybe the company assigns fake, Western-sounding names to these people so that Americans won't get too confused when trying to take their information. I think it's a plausible theory. But why did he deny it so vehemently??
"What?" he asked, seemingly alarmed.
"You know, for my records. What's your name?"
"Nathan," he said.
"Nathan?" I responded, disbelievingly. "Your name is Nathan? What's your last name?"
"Alphonso," he said.
"Nathan Alphonso?" I paused and pondered this for a second. "Where are you, Nathan?"
Silence. I heard a faint sigh. He either thought I was trying to chat him up or he knew what was coming. "India, sir."
"Whereabouts in India, Nathan?"
"Hmmm," I said. "Is that your real name, or is it just a name they give you for identification when you talk to Americans?"
"We have names like this, too," he said. He was growing impatient, but I wanted my thirty-minutes-wait-worth.
"Really?" I said, "because I've met many Indian people and I've never known any with a name like that. But if you say so. . . "
"Yes, sir. Do you have any other questions or concerns?" Other than about his true identity, that is.
"No, I guess that's all." I wanted to pursue this further, but I could tell he really wanted to get me off the line. "Thanks, Nathan Alphonso. Take care."
An Anecdote About Outsourcing
I recently signed up for a new internet/phone package online, and when I was finished, I had some questions that were unanswered by the web site. I called the help line, and after being on hold for about a half-hour, an Indian man answered. He spoke fine English and he was very helpful. After I was satisfied that I had all the answers I needed, I prepared to write down his information, just in case I had to refer to this phone call in the future. Here is the approximate transcript of our conversation, to the best of my memory: